It’s vacation season, which means you’ll be needing a tonne of reading recommendations – that’s where we come in. Welcome to our virtual book club; a place where the FGRLS CLUB team dissect the best books written by female/femme authors that they’ve read over the last four weeks. So, grab yourself a glass of prosecco, a sun lounger and some factor 50 sunscreen, you won’t be able to put these down…
Here at FGRLS CLUB, we’re big fans of Charly (check out that time we interviewed her) and the emotive poetry she produces. Having only started to share her poetry with the world 18 months ago, the amount this young writer has achieved is outstanding. The collection focuses on love, mental health, friendships, vices and much more. It’s a summation of what it’s like to be a twenty-something woman in the throws of figuring it all out. You’ll cry, laugh and learn from She Must Be Mad.
More poetry. Can you tell I’m pushing an agenda to get people reading poetry again? This one helps my cause tenfold. Emily Berry’s second collection, Stranger Baby, carries on from her debut Dear Boy in the same tone. Berry’s work focuses on interpersonal relationships, with this book solely exploring the poet’s relationship with her mother and how she dealt with her death. It’s deeply moving and uses poetry to regain control of her emotions rather than as a cauterising tool.
After reading about this literary duo in Vogue, I knew I had to pre-order the book instantly – once it arrived, I devoured it in a single evening. Slay In Your Lane acts as a manual for young black women navigating life in Britain today, calling out white privilege and providing the world with some much-needed inclusivity.
When an author has written the screenplays for both Sleepless in Seattle and When Harry Met Sally you buy that book and read it in 3 hours, whilst hidden away in a tiny empty office at work. Heartburn felt like those all too familiar confessions that every woman has when dealing with a disastrous life-changing breakup. Should we have done more to make it work? Can we go to their work and yell at them/throw stuff in front of their employees? All valid questions when you are angry and sad. Like a friend trying to make you forget the guy who ghosted you, Nora Ephron brings the most humorous angle on love and the crap that comes with it.
I am always wary of short stories, mostly because I crave a book that will take me weeks to finish. That was until I was trapped on the Central line in 30-degree heat and all the trains had stopped. Enter Curtis Sittenfeld and her collection of 11 short stories, all centred on women and the power dynamics that influence their relationships. Sittenfeld delivers witty smart characters that beautifully portray the messy parts that we often never air out for people to see. The only frustrating part was getting to the end of each short story and wanting to know more. I applaud and curse you Curtis Sittenfeld. And yes I finished the whole book and yes it got me through a 38-minute delay on the Central line.
I don’t make a habit of pre-ordering books, because quite honestly the idea of spending hours in a bookshop and trawling through a library is my actual kink. However, this complete must-read was hastily put in my amazon basket over two months ago. Chidera Eggerue aka The Slumflower is the creator of the groundbreaking movement #saggyboobsmatter and all-around mega-babe. Steadily smashing the patriarchy with her refreshingly honest, body-positive, self-loving self, the 23-year-old activist is a breath of brazen fresh air. Her debut book is unsurprisingly essential reading for all young women. In a world that seems obsessed with telling you you’re not good enough, Chidera compellingly reminds you of your self-worth in What a Time to be Alone. Packed full of sound advice, insightful Igbo proverbs from Chidera’s Nigerian mother and her own stunning artwork, you’ll be pouring over this book for years to come.
Some of my favourite books are the ones that are passed on to me with a knowing nod from a good friend and the promise that you will “absolutely love it”. Rarely are they wrong and I devoured every page of Viv Albertine ’s remarkable memoir over one sunny weekend. A candid look at what it was like to be female in the 1970’s music scene, The slits guitarist has no holds barred approach in her thrilling life story. Fearlessly taking on the male-dominated music scene, the hugely influential post-punk girl band The Slits fronted part of a movement that changed music to what we know it today. A heartbreaking and raw story from boy obsessed teenager, the pain of IVF, illness, divorce and above all the power of music, prepare to not be able to put it down.
I picked this up on a whim as the cover – a photograph of a woman submerged in water, without title or author name – caught my eye between flouncy calligraphy and illustration. It turned out to be one of the most intriguing novels I have read in a very, very long time. If feminist dystopia, unanswered questions and genuinely brilliant storytelling are your bag, then why aren’t you in the queue at Waterstones already?
As a dedicated follower of her ever-brilliant blog, I fell in love with this (and Meg) before I even read it. And after reading it I thought, fuck, THAT’S the book I wanted to write. THAT’S the way I want to touch people with my prose. Detailing her pursuit of finding herself, and ‘home’, during ten years in New York, it is beautiful and honest without pretence. But more than anything, this memoir of “chaos and grace” is a permission slip for us all to embody just that.
Find out more about the FGRLS CLUB team HERE